McConnell sends warning over nomination votes
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hinted Monday that he’s willing to keep the Senate in town through Friday, or even into the weekend, as Republicans work to confirm a slate of President Trump’s nominees.
“We have a number of nominees to consider in the next several days. …The Senate’s workweek will not end until all of these amply qualified nominees are confirmed,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.
Before leaving for the two-week recess that just ended, the GOP leader teed up six nominations. The Senate took up an initial vote on the first in the series, Claria Boom to be a U.S. district judge, on Monday evening.
A final vote is set for Tuesday. The Senate will then take an initial vote on a National Labor Relations Board nominee.
Under the Senate’s rules, after a nominee overcomes an initial vote, known as a cloture vote, senators can still force up to an additional 30 hours of debate.
If opponents drag out the debate clock over the current round of nominations that would allow them to keep the chamber in session through the weekend, well past the normal Thursday exit.
But senators are not using the full 30 hours on Boom and could still agree to speed up the rest of the nominations.
McConnell’s comments come as Republicans, and the Trump administration, are growing increasingly frustrated by the pace of nomination votes.
“Senate Democrats are using the procedural playbook to obstruct and delay,” McConnell said.
Republicans have privately mulled changing the rules to speed up votes on Trump’s nominees.
GOP Sen. James Lankford’s (Okla.) proposal would cut down debate time from 30 hours to eight hours for most nominations once they’ve overcome an initial hurdle that shows they have the simple majority to pass.
A GOP aide told The Hill that the proposal could see movement in the Rules and Administration Committee in May. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the next chairman of the committee, predicted the proposal will get a vote, adding that “Republicans have every right to be offended by the way the rules have been abused.